Roundtable to Reduce Homelessness Progress

The Problem

During the fall of 2012 we heard in our house meetings and read in our newspapers about the serious problem of homelessness. Many in our membership know someone personally who is homeless or who has been affected by homelessness.  We also heard and shared stories of us encountering homeless individuals living outside in wooded areas in tents and blankets.  While many of our congregations are deeply involved in sheltering the homeless during the winter time, what happens during the other parts of the year?  A better question, why do our congregations see the same guests year after year?

We had heard from one of our pastors that it is not fair for his janitorial staff to clean human excrement off of the lawn of his church.  Another one of pastors even had to call in law enforcement authorities to clear out the vestibule of his church because there were over 20 homeless individuals huddled there to sleep and keep warm.

The IMPACT Homlessness Research Committee identified that there are 500 children and youth in our area that are homeless or living in unstable housing.  There are also more than 200 homeless adults on any given night.  As we met with individual agencies that work with the homeless, we realized that they were doing good work individually but their efforts were being uncoordinated.  Our community lacks a community-wide strategy to move people into stable housing and ensuring that their clients are getting the benefits and help that they need.  Although one was created to end homelessness by 2012, little to no collective moves were being done to make that a reality.

Federal and state funding regulations are shifting, now often requiring organizations must apply together as a community or “Continuum of Care”. If our local organizations and service providers do not work together, they effectively leave thousands of dollars on the table that could be used to better serve our homeless brothers and sisters.

The Solution

To address this problem, IMPACT proposes the establishment of a “roundtable to reduce homelessness”. This roundtable will act as a coalition of organizations and institutions that are already trying to help mitigate our community’s growing homelessness problem. Increased cooperation will make our existing institutions more effective and efficient at moving people off of the streets and into stable housing. IMPACT has put forth seven priorities for the roundtable to take on.

1) Establish a common and measurable goal, with specific timetables, to reduce the numbers of individuals who are homeless in our community.
2) Develop an ongoing, cooperative strategy to hold providers accountable
3) Establish common intake via the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), to leverage all available federal and state funds earmarked for homeless programs
4) Develop information-sharing agreements and commit to refer individuals to other service providers to receive the care they need
5) Establish a cooperative funding mechanism for a Housing Fiscal Agent who can channel federal and state rapid re-housing funds that are especially helpful to children and families.
6) Pursue the creation of a “Housing Navigator” to locate appropriate housing and service agencies for continued support.
7) Develop a plan to provide SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) training to all area service providers so they can increase the speed and likelihood of an eligible homeless person receiving Social Security benefits.

See an update on developments from this increased collaboration from the Daily Progress.

On April 29, 2013 1,476 IMPACT leaders flooded the John Paul Jones Arena to seek commitments from key area agencies that work on homelessness and city and county managing authorities to convene a Roundtable to Reduce Homelessness.

IMPACT invited:

  • Robert Johnson, Executive Director of Region 10, Caurso Brown, Deputy Executive Director of Region 10 attended in his absence
  • Ed Bain, Chair of the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH)
  • Erin Briggs, Chair of the TJACH Service Provider Council, Lead Case Manager for Virginia Supportive Housing’s The Crossings at 4th and Preston
  • Maurice Jones, Charlottesville City Manager
  • Thomas Foley, Albemarle County Executive, Ron White, Albemarle Chief of Housing attended in his absence

Commitments

  • TJACH Board of Directors, it’s Service Provider Council and Region 10 committed to begin the Roundtable and to adopt the seven priorities as its initial focus.
  • Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones committed to lead and convene the Roundtable and update IMPACT at the 8th Annual Assembly and the 2014 Nehemiah Action
  • Albemarle County Chief of Housing Ron White spoke on the behalf of Albemarle County Executive Thomas Foley in support of the Roundtable and the City and County taking a leadership role in addressing homelessness.
  • Daily Progress Article

IMPACT 8th Annual Assembly Update 10/28/2013

  • Over 350 of IMPACT’s membership gathered to witness Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones and Albemarle County Executive attend the 8th Annual Assembly to give us an update on the Roundtable to Reduce Homelessness
  • Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition of the Homeless (TJACH) has restructured and in effect has become the Roundtable to Reduce Homelessness
  • Area agencies have been able to collaborate effectively to keep $160,000 towards rapid rehousing and central intake in the community
  • City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County have allocated $80,000 to fund a joint Request of Proposal to be awarded to the Roundtable if they have an adequate plan to address the seven priorities and provide measurable plan of action to reduce homelessness
  • Daily Progress Article
  • NBC29 Coverage

IMPACT Rally of the Justice Ministries Update 04/08/2014

PRIORITY RESULTS SO FAR 
  1. Establish a common and measurable goal, with specific timetables, to reduce the numbers of individuals who are homeless in our community.
–committee has been created to create a new plan to end homelessness. May take a year (PACEM)-plan will be in 3-5 year implementation timetable (VSH)-starting goal of maximum of 30 days in shelter (TJACH)
  1. Develop an ongoing, cooperative strategy to hold providers accountable

 

 

-TJACH is the roundtable-Four collaborative applications have happened (TJACH)-Governance and charter made in Nov. 2013 and committees formed (TJACH)

 

  1. Establish common intake via the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), to leverage all available federal and state funds earmarked for homeless programs
-$35,000 for full time central intake person (CACF)-coordinated assessment happens by the Haven at their location daily (TJACH)-Using HMIS is a criteria for joining TJACH (PACEM)
  1. Develop information-sharing agreements and commit to refer individuals to other service providers to receive the care they need
-Weekly community case review with PACEM, Haven, TJACH, R10, Cville DSS, Salvation Army, SHIE, MACAA, Albemarle Schools, Charlottesville Schools, Virginia Supportive Housing MHA and others (TJACH)-MOU’s developed between agencies. Only have to do with funding (VSH)
  1. Establish a cooperative funding mechanism for a Housing Fiscal Agent who can channel federal and state rapid re-housing funds that are especially helpful to children and families
– 62 people have been helped  thanks to rapid rehousing funding (VSH)-Equity (through ASG) is fiscal agent of rapid rehousing (VSH)
  1. Pursue the creation of a “Housing Navigator” to locate appropriate housing and service agencies for continued support.
-several agencies have collaboratively applied for funding from city and county to fund this position (TJACH)-initial budget proposal has funding in it (TJACH)-ABRT Recommends $41,045 of new funding recommended if funding is available (includes funding for other things as well) (Cville Budget proposal)
  1. Develop a plan to provide SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) training to all area service providers so they can increase the speed and likelihood of an eligible homeless person receiving Social Security benefits.
-27 people have received benefits thanks to SOAR training (VSH)-considering a half time or full time person to train people (TJACH)-1/4 people in PATH trained (R10)